My avatar makes me feel good? The effect of avatar personalisation and virtual agent interactions on self-esteem

Wei Jie Dominic Koek, Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The theory of Objective Self-Awareness (OSA) and related studies suggest that embodiment of personalised avatars may induce self-awareness and influence self-esteem. Additionally, the Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm suggests that humans may mindlessly respond to computers in ways that are similar to human interactions. Based on those assertions, it is plausible that virtual embodiment of a personalised avatar and interactions with a virtual agent can shift self-esteem. However, those effect on self-esteem have not been thoroughly examined in past studies. To address these research gaps, a 2 (avatar personalisation: personalised vs. non-personalised avatar) x 2 (virtual agent interaction valence: positive vs. negative) between-subjects experiment was conducted using a Virtual Reality (VR) simulation (N =171). Findings from the study showed that there was no effect of avatar personalisation and virtual agent interaction valence on state self-esteem change. However, the pairwise comparisons present some preliminary indications that avatar personalisation and positive interactions with a virtual agent may facilitate improvements in state self-esteem altogether. Implications of the study findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Research programs

  • ESHCC M&C

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